JOHN PHILLIPS AND THE BUSINESS OF VICTORIAN SCIENCE

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2 JOHN PHILLIPS AND THE BUSINESS OF VICTORIAN SCIENCE John Phillips was one of the most remarkable and important scientists of the Victorian period. Orphaned at the age of seven and brought up by his uncle, he rose to hold a number of highly prestigious posts within the British academic and scientific community, despite lacking a university education. By the time of his death in 1874 he was widely regarded as one of the pioneers and champions of the science of geology, yet until now there has been no full length biography of Phillips. In rectifying this lacuna, Jack Morrell has produced a meticulous and magisterial piece of scholarship that does justice to the achievements and legacy of John Phillips. Adopting a broadly chronological approach, the book not only traces the development of Phillips's career but clarifies and highlights his role within Victorian culture, shedding light on many wider themes. It explores how Phillips's love of science was inseparable from his need to earn a living and develop a career which could sustain him. Hence questions of power, authority, reputation and patronage were central to Phillips's career and scientific work. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources and a rich body of recent writings on Victorian science, this biography provides a fascinating and compelling account of John Phillips and his legacy. Pulling together his personal story with the scientific theories and developments of the day, and fixing them firmly within the context of wider society, this biography will be vital reading for anyone with an interest in the history of British and nineteenth-century science. About the Author Jack Morrell is Honorary Visiting Lecturer, History of Science, University of Leeds, UK.

3 Science, Technology and Culture, Series Editors David M. Knight University of Durham and Trevor Levere University oftoronto Science, Technology and Culture, focuses on the social, cultural, industrial and economic contexts of science and technology from the 'scientific revolution' up to the Second World War. It explores the agricultural and industrial revolutions of the eighteenth century, the coffee-house culture of the Enlightenment, the spread of museums, botanic gardens and expositions in the nineteenth century, to the Franco Prussian war of 1870, seen as a victory for German science. It also addresses the dependence of society on science and technology in the twentieth century. Science, Technology and Culture, addresses issues of the interaction of science, technology and culture in the period from 1700 to 1945, at the same time as including new research within the field of the history of science. Also in this series Science and Beliefs From Natural Philosophy to Natural Science, Edited by David M. Knight and Matthew D. Eddy The Genius of Erasmus Darwin Edited by C. U.M. Smith and Robert Arnott Science and Dissent in England, Edited by Paul Wood Discovering Wa ter James Wa tt, Henry Cavendish and the Nineteenth-Century 'Water Controversy ' David Philip Miller

4 To my family

5 John Phillips, a lithograph by T.H. Maguire of 1851, an Ipswich Museum portrait issued in celebration of the visit of the British Association. National Portrait Gallery.

6 John Phillips and the Business of Victorian Science JACK MORRELL University of Leeds, UK

7 First published 2005 by Ashgate Publishing Reissued 2018 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business Jack Morrell 2005 The author has asserted his moral right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identifi ed as the author of this work. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in a ny information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. A Library of Congress record exists under LC control number: Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Publisher s Note The publisher has gone to great lengths to ensure the quality of this reprint but points out that some imperfections in the original copies may be apparent. Disclaimer The publisher has made every effort to trace copyright holders and welcomes correspondence from those they have been unable to contact. ISBN 13: (hbk) ISBN 13: (ebk)

8 Contents Preface Aclazowledgements Abbreviations, Conventions, and a Note on Monetary Va lues List of Illustrations Xl Xlll XV xvn Introduction PART 1: THE SCIENTIFIC APPRENTICE The Apprentice Mineral Surveyor 1.1 The education of an orphan 1.2 Cabinet assistant to Smith 1.3 Surveying with Smith 1.4 Wandering with Smith 2. The Young Lecturer and Keeper 2.1 The Yorkshire Philosophical Society 2.2 The geological lectures of Smith and Phillips 2.3 Curating in York 2.4 Performing: home and away 2.5 Harcourt as patron 2.6 The coastal geologist 3. The Spreading Reputation The York savant 3.2 Geological raids on the Continent 3.3 Vindicating William Smith 3.4 London overtures 3.5 The early British Association 3.6 The Royal Dublin Society PART II: MAKING A CAREER The Provincial Base 4.1 YPS keeper 4.2 The mountain limestone monograph 4.3 Carboniferous expert 4.4 The philosophical carnival 4.5 The burden oflecturing Vll

9 Vlll Contents 5. The Professor and Popular Writer King's College, London The popularisation of geology Lyell's principles of geology Phillips' principles of geology Genesis and geology The Geological Survey The Survey under attack The unpaid helper The Survey employee Palaeozoic fossils Palaeozoic converts The Geological Survey Maps, sections, and obsessions Halcyon years Surveying and pupils Sparring with Murchison Cabinet palaeontologist Irish stews Anti-climax Manifold Scientist Local commitments Metropolitan involvements The BAAS factotum The BAAS polymath Civil scientist Popularising science A pension scandal 234 PART III: THE OXFORD PROFESSOR The Oxford Chair The Oxford appointment Oxford in Debut in Oxford Geological lecturing Geological pupils The geological collection Schools and extra-mural lecturing 267

10 Contents IX 10. Professorial Research Cleavage and belemnites Glaciation Vesuvius and earthquakes Topographicial geology Consultancy Archaeology and astronomy Magnetism and meteorology Keepering The Ashmolean Museum Keeper in waiting Ruskinesque decorator Keeper The Museum's meanings Collections Unifier ofthe Museum Voluntary Commitments Local scientific societies The British Association The Geological Society The Royal Society Evolution, the Earth, Man, and God Vestiges of creation The origin of species Life on the earth Genesis and geology revisited The age of man Last testimonies Irenic Christianity 366 Conclusion 375 Appendix 1: Lecture courses given by Phillips to YPS 381 Appendix 2: Lecture courses given by Phillips outside York 383 Bibliography 387 Index 425

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12 Preface In writing this book I have profited from the support of many people and institutions. For general encouragement and particular help I am indebted to David Allen, Simon Bailey, Anne Banett, Douglas Bassett, Bill Brock, John Brooke, Neil Brown, Janet Browne, Bill Bynum, Gordon Herries Davies, Brian Harrison, Tony Heywood, Roger Hutchins, Ian Inkster, the late Bobby Jenkins, David Knight, Frank James, David Levene, David Miller, Dorinda Outram, John Pickstone, the late Roy Porter, Munro Price, A1me Secord, Tom Sharpe, Tony Simcock, and the late John Thackray. At the Oxford University Museum of Natural History I have been welcomed by Jim Kennedy, Philip Powell, and above all by Stella Brecknell, its ever-helpful librarian who looks after the Phillips papers to which she has produced an excellent hand-list. I began sustained research on Phillips in 1985 when I enjoyed a visiting fellowship at Brasenose College, Oxford, and received the first of several grants from the Royal Society of London for this particular project. I have benefited from the help given by many librarians and archivists, and especially from the first-rate services provided by the university libraries of Leeds and Bradford. Since 1992 I have had the privilege of being an honorary visiting lecturer in history of science at the University of Leeds, where Sam Alberti, Geoffrey Cantor, John Christie, Steven French, Graeme Gooday, Jonathan Hodge, Chris Kenny, Richard Noakes, Suzanne Paylor, Gregory Radick, Jonathan Topham, and Adrian Wilson have given friendship, stimulus, and useful references. I owe much to three distinguished historians of geology, Martin Rudwick, Jim Secord, and Hugh Torrens for advice, encouragement, and information freely given over many years. With characteristic generosity Jim Secord has read meticulously the entire manuscript of this book. It has been greatly improved by his incisive comments. For expert typing I thank Christine Lawlor. At Ashgate, Thomas Gray, Celia Hoare and their colleagues have aided me beyond the call of duty. For enabling me to finish the book I am grateful to the staff of the Heaton Medical Practice, Bradford. For forbearance I am beholden to my family, to whom this book is dedicated. XI

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14 Acknowledgements For permission to cite manuscripts in their care or ownership I am grateful to the American Philosophical Society (W Hutton and Darwin papers, miscellaneous correspondence); the Bodleian Library, Oxford (BAAS archives, including General committee minutes, Council minutes, Foundation volume, York reception committee proceedings, documents pertaining to mines; H.W. Acland papers; Ashmolean Society papers); Bradford District archives (WDanby papers); Bristol University Library (Eyles collection); British Geological Survey, Keyworth (Geological Survey archives); British Library (Peel papers); British Museum (Natural History) (Owen Papers; miscellaneous correspondence); Buxton Museum (Dawkins collection); Cambridge University Library (Greenough, Henslow, Kelvin, Sedgwick, and Stokes papers); Cambridge University Museum of Zoology (Strickland papers); Devon Record Office (Buckland papers); Edinburgh University Library (Lyell, Murchison Gen 523, and Geikie Gen 525 papers; miscellaneous correspondence, including letters to Phillips, Gen 78411); Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (miscellaneous correspondence); the Honourable Mrs C Gascoigne (Harcourt papers); Geological Society of London (Murchison papers); Humberside County archives (H Robinson papers); Imperial College, London, archives (Huxley, Playfair, and Ramsay papers); King's College, London, archives (KCL Council minutes, incoming correspondence, letter book ); Leeds Public Libraries archives, Sheepscar, now known as West Yorkshire archive service, Leeds (T. Wilson papers, Yorkshire Naturalists' Club archives); Leeds University Library (Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society archives, Yorkshire Geological Society archives); London University Library (Phillips autobiographical notebook, MS 517); Magdalen College, Oxford, Library (Daubeny papers; Phillips' foreign travel journals, 1829, 1830); Manchester Public Library (Royal Manchester Institution archives, including incoming letters M6/1/50-2, letter books M6/1/49/1-7, and syllabuses M611/70; Massachusetts Institute oftechnology Library (WB. Rogers papers); Mitchell Library, Glasgow (Phillips' journal of tour of Scotland, 1826); John Murray (Murray papers); Museum of History of Science, Oxford (Phillips' notebook c. 1819, Gunther MS S 64, 65); National Library oflreland (Larcom and Monteagle papers); National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth (Ramsay papers, Dolaucothi MSS); National Museum ofwales, Department of Geology (De 1a Beche papers); Northamptonshire Record Office (Fitzwilliam papers); Oxford University archives (Hebdomadal Board minutes, Hebdomadal Council reports, Burdett-Coutts letters, Ashmolean keepership letters, report on Hope collection, papers concerning University Museum , N.W2.1, Oxford University Museum archives cited as OUAIUM, including minutes of Museum delegacy M/1.1-3, correspondence C/3/2, and capitals documents F/7/7); Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Library (Buckland, Phillips, and W Smith papers, historical archive cited as OUM/HA); Public Record office (Sabine papers, BJ3); Pusey House, Oxford (Pusey papers); Royal Institution, London (Managers' minutes, RI archives, Grove papers, M. Reid's diary); Royal Society of London (Buckland, R.W Fox, Xlll

15 XlV Acknowledgements Herschel, J.W Lubbock, Sabine, and Terrestrial magnetism papers, Council minutes, Miscellaneous correspondence MC, Miscellaneous manuscripts MM, Referees' reports RR); St Andrews University Library (J.D. Forbes papers); St Bride's Printing Library, London (R. Taylor collection); Sheffield Public Library (Sorby papers; Wentworth Woodhouse muniments); Torquay Museum (Pengelly collection); Trinity College, Cambridge, Library (Whewell papers); Trinity College, Dublin, Library (TCD Board minutes, Hamilton papers); Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand (Mantell papers); University College, London, Library (Brougham, Chadwick, F. Galton, and SDUK papers; UCL archives including College correspondence and applications for chairs); Wellcome Historical Medical Library, London (autograph letters); Yale University Library (J.B. Murray collection); York City archives (York Mechanics' Institute archives including Committee minute book, monthly meetings minute books, book listing lectures, classes and members ); Yorkshire Philosophical Society (Building committee minutes , Council minutes, evening meetings minutes , General meetings minutes, letter book , miscellaneous correspondence, scientific communications , and Phillips' day-book ).

16 Abbreviations, Conventions, and a Note on Monetary Values AAAS APS BAAS BAAS 18xy report BL BP Bu P CP DAB Devonshire Commision DLB P DNB DP DSB EUL FGS FP FRS GP Gr P Gu P HCR HP Ham P Hen P Her P Hu P KCL KP LP La P Lit-and-phil Lub P LPLS LPS MP American Association for the Advancement of Science American Philosophical Society British Association for the Advancement of Science Report of the meeting of the BAAS held in 18xy, published the year after British Library Brougham papers Buckland papers Chadwick papers Dictionary of American biography Royal Commission on scientific instruction and the advancement of science, first and second reports, Parliamentary papers, 1872 vol.25 De La Beche papers Dictionary of national biography Daubeny papers Dictionary of scientific biography Edinburgh University Library Fellow of the Geological Society J.D. Forbes papers Fellow of the Royal Society Greenough papers Grove papers Gunther papers Hebdomadal Council reports Harcourt papers Hamilton papers Henslow papers Herschel papers Hutton papers King's College, London Kelvin papers Lyell papers Larcom papers Literary and philosophical (society) J.W Lubbock papers Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society Literary and Philosophical Society Murchison papers XV

17 xv1 Abbreviations, Conventions, and a Note on Monetary Values Ma P Mu P OP OUA OUA/UM OUM/HA PGS Pl P pp PRO PYGS q QJGS RCO (1850) RCOC (1872) RDS Rl RMI RP RSL SP Sa P scoc (1867) SDUK Se P Sorby P St P TCD Terr Mag P TGSL UCL UM/M WP YAS YGS YMI YPS YPS 18xy report Mantell papers Murray papers Owen papers Oxford University archives Oxford University Museum archives Oxford University Museum, historical archive Proceedings of the Geological Society of London Playfair papers Phillips papers Public Record Office Proceedings of the Yo rkshire Geological Society quotation Quarterly journal of the Geological Society of London Royal commission appointed to inquire into the state, discipline, studies, and revenues of the University and colleges of Oxford, Parliamentary papers, 1852, vol. 22 Royal commission appointed to inquire into the property and income of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and of the colleges and halls therein, Parliamentary papers, 1873, vol. 37 Royal Dublin Society Royal Institution Royal Manchester Institution Ramsay papers Royal Society of London W. Smith papers Sabine papers Select committee on the Oxford and Cambridge Universities Education Bill, Parliamentary papers, 1867, vol. l3, pp Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge Sedgwick papers Sorby papers Stokes papers Trinity College, Dublin Terrestrial magnetism papers Transactions of the Geological Society of London University College, London University Museum, Oxford: minutes of delegates Whewell papers Yorkshire Agricultural Society Yorkshire Geological Society York Mechanics' Institute Yorkshire Philosophical Society Report of Council of the YPSfor 18xy, published the year after A conversion factor of about in the value of sterling gives a rough comparison of the monetary values of with those of today. In Phillips' time there were 12 pence (d) to a shilling (/-), 20 shillings to a pound ( ), and a guinea was worth 21 shillings.

18 List of Illustrations Frontispiece. John Phillips in Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery. lv 1.1 William Smith in From Woodward, 1907, facing p. 92; original owned by the Geological Society of London Phillips' lithograph of 1819 of Smith's plan for an Aire-Don canal. From Sheppard, 1917, p Courtesy of Leeds University Library Phillips' drawings of 1819 of lithographic presses, including his own designs. From his System of lithography, pp , PP, box 51, folder 16. Courtesy of Oxford University Museum ofnatural History Geological map of north-east Yorkshire, based on that in Phillips, 1829b, using his nomenclature and showing important geological sites The reverend William Vernon Harcourt in middle age. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery Sir Roderick lmpey Murchison in Courtesy of the Royal Society of London Membership ticket for the first meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held in York in It shows medieval ruins and the Yorkshire Museum. Courtesy of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society Table of the succession of British formations as understood by the late 1830s The reverend professor Adam Sedgwick in Courtesy of the Royal Society of London Phillips' drawing of 1839 of St Mary's Lodge, York, his home from that year. From Phillips, St Mary's Lodge 1839, PP, notebook 40. Courtesy of Oxford University Museum of Natural History Geological map of north-west Yorkshire, based on that in Phillips, 1836a, using his nomenclature and showing important geological sites Diagram drawn by Phillips to show the different thicknesses of geological formations in different localities. From Phillips, 1836a, plate 24, diagram 24. Courtesy of Leeds University Library Phillips' tabulated census of fossil species in carboniferous strata, adapted from Phillips, 1836a, p Diagram drawn by Phillips to show the frequencies of the directions of long joints in Yorkshire's secondary rocks. From Phillips, 1836a, p. 98. Courtesy of Leeds University Library Phillips' compound rain gauge of From BAAS 1840 report, p. 46. Courtesy of Leeds University Library Phillips' geological view of the Isle of Wight. From Phillips, 1836b. Courtesy of Leeds Central Library. 140 xvn

19 XVlll List of Illustrations 5.2 Charles Giles Bridle Daubeny in Courtesy of the Royal Society of London Sir Charles Lyell in Courtesy of Jim Secord Sir Henry Thomas De Ia Beche in the late 1840s. Courtesy of the Department of Geology, National Museum of Wales Three definitions of palaeozoic rocks Map of important geological sites in Wales, the Welsh borders, and south-west England, for Phillips' work for the Survey Phillips' traverse section west of Worcester Beacon, Malvern Hills. From Phillips, 1848a, p. 73. Courtesy of Leeds University Library The Geological Survey at work in the Malvern area under Phillips' direction. From Phillips, 1848a, p Courtesy of Leeds University Library Phillips' drawing of Miss Phillips' conglomerate discovered in From Phillips, 1848a, p. 67. Courtesy of Leeds University Library Conflicting interpretations given by Murchison and Phillips of the Malvern area Phillips' photograph of the moon taken in Attached to Phillips to Sabine, 20 July 1853, Sa P. Courtesy of the Royal Society of London Anne Phillips, a photograph of From Faraday's photograph album, Royal Institution, London, to which my attention was drawn by Frank James, who provided a reproduction. Courtesy of the Royal Institution and the Bridgeman Art Library Phillips' printed list of questions first issued in 1854 to act as the basis for discussion with his students at Oxford after his lectures. From PP, box 78, folder 8. Courtesy of Oxford Museum of Natural History Phillips' drawing of the shoulder girdle of megalosaurus, a fossilised giant reptile. From Phillips, 1871a, p Courtesy of Leeds University Library Phillips' drawings of a belemnite species, showing variations with its age. From Phillips, , plate 36. Courtesy of Leeds University Library Phillips' drawing of 1868 of a Vesuvian lava flow. From Phillips, 1869a, p Courtesy of Leeds University Library Phillips' drawing of 1863 of two lunar ring mountains. From Phillips, 1868a, plate 15, fig. 2. Courtesy of Oxford University Museum of Natural History Phillips' chart of 1865 of Mars. From Phillips, 1865e, facing p Courtesy of Oxford Museum ofnatural History Phillips' maximum thermometer. From Scott, 1887, p. 27. Courtesy of Leeds University Library The exterior of Oxford University Museum and the keeper's house in Courtesy of the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford The interior of Oxford University Museum photographed c Courtesy of Oxford University Museum of Natural History. 318

20 Contents XIX 12.1 Phillips orating as president of the British Association in Birmingham Town Hall in From Illustrated London News, 1865, vol. 47, p Courtesy Leeds Central Library Phillips photographed in From Woodward, 1907, facing p Original owned by the Royal Society of London Classifications oflower palaeozoic rocks ofbritain, Diagram by Phillips showing the fluctuating but overall increasing variety of life during the earth's history. From Phillips, 1860b, p. 66. Courtesy of Leeds University Library. 357

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22 Introduction The way of death and burial of John Phillips, professor of geology in the University of Oxford and keeper of the University Museum, showed that he had achieved the ne plus ultra of distinction. On 23 April 1874 after dinner in All Souls College, Oxford, with his host Mountague Bernard (professor of international law), and his friends the reverend Francis Leighton (warden of All Souls), and the reverend Charles Williams (principal of Jesus College, Oxford), Phillips stumbled over a mat at the top of a flight of fifteen stone steps and fell headlong and backwards to the bottom. He suffered instant paralysis, never recovered consciousness, and died the next day. Knowing that in his will Phillips had stipulated that his funeral be held at York, his home for almost thirty years, the vice-chancellor of the University, the reverend Henry George Liddell, nominated three distinguished Oxonians and close associates of Phillips to go to York to represent the University. They were the reverend John Griffiths (warden of Wadham College), Henry Acland (Regius professor of medicine), and Henry Smith (professor of geometry). On 29 April a procession of 150 people, with the University members in academic dress, accompanied the hearse from Museum House, Phillips' residence, to the Oxford railway station from where it was carried to York to lay overnight in the vestibule of the Yorkshire Museum of which he had been the first keeper. The funeral of30 April was arranged by William Gray, junior, an old friend of Phillips and former Lord Mayor ofyork, who ensured that it was a civic occasion. After a service at St Olave's, the Anglican church where Phillips had worshipped regularly, the hearse was followed by over thirty carriages of mourners through the city to the York Cemetery where the bachelor was buried next to his unmarried sister, Anne, who had been his housekeeper from 1829 until her death in Many shops were closed, the Big Peter bell ofyork Minister tolled for ninety minutes, and even the hard-headed directors of the York Gas Company met early in order to attend the funeral. The local press played its part by eulogising Phillips: he was a 'great and good man', 'a great geologist' who was 'widely loved and esteemed'; by 'sheer hard work' he had secured 'world wide celebrity' and an 'imperishable reputation'.1 What had Phillips done to elicit such tributes? One of the main aims of this book is to answer this question. Let us make a start by giving here an overview of Phillips' remarkable career. He was born in 1800 in Wiltshire, the second of four children of an excise officer. Orphaned at the age of seven, he was brought up by his uncle, William Smith, a surveyor who was later dubbed the father of English geology because he was the first in England to discover, to exemplify, and to diffuse the notion that different rock strata could be distinguished by their characteristic fossils. After several years at a local school Phillips was sent by Smith to live and study with a local Anglican clergyman, Benj amin Richardson, who expanded the boy's interest in science. At the tender age of fourteen, Phillips joined his uncle in London where he helped in geological work and trained under him as a mineral surveyor. In 1819

23 2 Introduction Smith was imprisoned for debt and relinquished his London home. After this disaster Smith and Phillips wandered for four years from 1820 in northern England where they took surveying jobs and produced Smith's county geological maps. In 1824 the Yorkshire Philosophical Society (henceforth YPS) invited Smith to lecture in York. Having assisted his uncle, Phillips shared subsequent courses with him elsewhere and then launched himself as a solo lecturer. He was so adept at arranging the fossils in the museum of the YPS that he became in 1826 its first keeper and made York his home. Now separated from Smith, Phillips established himself as a successful lecturer and the leading expert on the geology of the Yorkshire coast. 2 As the right-hand man of the reverend William Vernon Harcourt, the leading figure in the YPS, Phillips took a leading part in 1831 in organising at York the first meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Next year he was appointed its assistant secretary, an office he held for thirty years. Through the peripatetic Association, which quickly becme Britain's parliament of science, Phillips made many contact usually denied to the isolated provincial. He spread his ambitions to the capital: in 1834 he succeeded Charles Lyell as professor of geology at Kjng's College, London, began to lecture extensively in London, and brought out the first edition of his Guide, a successful textbook.3 In the 1830s he popularised geology by writing influential articles and treatises for no fewer than four encyclopaedias. In 1836 he added to his reputation with his enduring monograph on the carboniferous limestone of Yorkshire in which he took preliminary steps towards a statistical palaeontology based on the number and distribution of fossil species.4 While his multifarious career in York and London was prospering, Phillips worked voluntarily for the youthful Geological Survey from 1836 to 1838 when he began to be paid, as its first palaeontologist, to draw and describe the fossils of parts of southwest England. The resulting monograph, Palaeozoic fo ssils, revealed a more developed statistical palaeontology and proposed that there were three great periods of past life on earth called the palaeozoic, the mesozoic, and the cainozoic, terms which are still used today.5 Meanwhile he resigned his London chair in 1839 and his York post in order to spend more time with the Survey in which he taught young colleagues new methods of field work. In 1844 Phillips assumed the new professorship of geology and mineralogy at Trinity College, Dublin, which he hoped to combine with the directorship of a new Irish branch of the Survey. He was forced to leave the Survey in autumn 1844 because it was deemed incompatible with his Dublin chair. The Irish Survey scheme having come to nought, Phillips resigned in 1845 from his Trinity post and rejoined the Survey. Though in 1845 he received the Wollaston medal of the Geological Society of London, its highest accolade, and showed himself to be the Survey's leading publisher with his memoir on the Malvern Hills (1848), he resigned from it in After four years based in York as a freelance writer, lecturer, government commissioner, and promoter of field clubs devoted to natural history and archaeology, in 1853 he replaced Hugh Strickland as deputy reader in geology in the University of Oxford. In 1856 he was made reader and in 1860 professor, even though he had never attended any university as an undergraduate. His interest in antiquities led to the keepership of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, from 1854 to More importantly, from 1857 to his death he was the first keeper of the new University Museum, which he helped to plan and arrange. As an experienced keeper, a fluent lecturer, a good organiser, an accomplished textbook writer, and a distinguished researcher, he soon became the unifying president of science at Oxford and the

24 Introduction 3 leading spirit in the Ashmolean Society there. A keen astronomer, particularly from 1852, Phillips secured eponymous fame in the 1860s when a crater on the moon and two features of Mars were named after him. He also catalysed the first stage of the founding of the University Observatory completed in Nationally he was prominent as president of the Geological Society ( ), a post he had previously declined twice, and as president of the British Association in Ever active in pursuing geology in an exceptionally wide way, he published when seventy his Geology of Oxford.7 As a devout but non-sectarian, irenic, and ecumenical Anglican, Phillips played a leading part in the Darwinian debates. In his Life on the earth (1860) he reaffirmed his belief in divine design, the reality of species, the relative novelty of humans, and a reverential reading of the book of geological strata.8 For Phillips the discontinuities in the fossil record were explicable only in terms of separate creations which were transcendental and inscrutable acts of God. Though he was not a dogmatic opponent of evolution or of natural selection, it was characteristic of Phillips that in the controversy of the 1860s about the age of the earth he primed William Thomson, the physicist, with the latest semi-quantitative estimates made by geological means. From the vignette just given it is clear that Phillips was a scientific Dick Whittington. His career was a variant on the theme of rags to riches: he rose from orphan to Oxford professor worth about 14,000 at his death.9 The way in which lowly origins were transcended appealed strongly to Victorians such as Samuel Smiles who published not only lives of engineers but also in the 1870s those of two Scottish naturalists, Thomas Edward and Robert Dick, a shoemaker and baker, who exemplified self-help and a host of related virtues. Indeed, in his famous homily, Self help, Smiles devoted a chapter to scientists and sang the praises of William Smith for his patient and laborious efforts. 10 Though Phillips was the epitome of the assiduous and triumphant provincial of humble birth, he did not find a Smiles to chronicle his heroic individualism and struggles against adversity in that favourite Victorian genre, a life-and-letters volume. After his death there was no one able and willing to compile it. Phillips' sister Anne could have done so but she predeceased him. As he was a bachelor he had no loving daughter to pay filial tribute to him as the two Mrs Gordons did for their fathers, William Buckland and Sir David Brewster. He had no devoted relatives keen to do for him what Katherine Lyell did for Sir Charles Lyell, her brother-in-law, and what Phillips himself had done for his uncle in his account of William Smith. Phillips never asked any grateful protege to write his biography as Sir Roderick Murchinson did six months before he died when he commissioned Archibald Geikie to do so. Over in Cambridge, Thomas Hughes, the professor of geology, paid homage to Adam Sedgwick, his teacher and predecessor, in a biography which he found impossible to complete solo. In Oxford Joseph Prestwich, Phillips' successor in the chair of geology, admired his predecessor but never contemplated writing a biography: his mature views about Phillips were confined to his inaugural lecture.11 Thus Phillips suffered the same fate as William Henry Fitton, Henry De la Beche, William Daniel Conybeare, and George Greenough, all 'heroic' geologists and associates of Phillips, none of whom was 'biographised' at book length in the Victorian period. Yet the historiography ofphillips goes back almost 150 years. From the 1 850s when he became professor of geology at Oxford and president of the Geological Society of London, he was seen as occupying a special position among British geologists. As the nephew and chief pupil of William Smith he was a unique link with the beginnings

25 4 Introduction in the 181 Os of what he called inductive geology, i.e. as a distinctive science with its own methods of enquiry, authority, and expertise. As a provincial he was not tainted by the partisanship of London but he was up to date and knew the leading metropolitan geologists well. His clear and balanced judgement, when exercised on controversial questions, was widely regarded as the best available, particularly as he suspended it when he felt the evidence was inadequatey In the 1860s Phillips became even more widely known, particularly through his presidency of the British Association and the articles about him which it generated. The Leisure hour and John Timbs' Ye ar-book of fa cts followed the line of The critic five years earlier in characterising him as the most accomplished British geologist of his time while admitting that others surpassed him in particular specialisms. Timbs emphasised that Phillips was a designer of instruments for use not only in geology but also in physics (electricity, magnetism, and meteorology) and astronomyy Robert Hunt, in Edward Walford's Portraits of men of eminence (1866), added three more dimensions: he stressed that Phillips was a good astronomer who had profitably delved into 'the arcana of space'; he claimed that the success of the British Association was almost entirely due to Phillips; and he drew extensively and accurately on a short account of his early life provided early that year by Phillips.14 From that time Phillips enjoyed a reputation as an eminent and veteran geologist who with Buckland, Conybeare, De la Beche, Sedgwick, Murchison, and Lyell constituted the pioneering first generation of British geologists. Andrew Ramsay, who rose to be director of the British Geological Survey, regarded Phillips as an old master. In 1869 the American Philosophical Society elected him as a member because with Sedgwick and Murchison he had laid the foundations of geology in Britain. In private Phillips was told he had a European reputation as an eminent maitre.15 Shortly after Phillips' sudden death, Robert Hunt printed in full in The Athenaeum the autobiographical account of his early days that Phillips had written in Along with the biographical notices of that decade it became the basis of most of the obituaries of Phillips, which in the main recycled what was already in print. The exception was the tribute produced for the Ashmolean Society by George Rolleston, professor of anatomy and physiology, and Henry Smith. They saw Phillips as 'a centre of union' in science at Oxford, as a Christian philosopher who regarded nature as sacred and science as sacramental, and as a geologist trained as an engineer to employ strict and sobering methods and to design and make instruments. They also confessed that Phillips' avoidance of factious controversy and his conciliatory personality were seen by some younger scientists as impairing his critical judgement: generally he condemned or commended only when asked. Rolleston and Smith inadvertently gave public credence to the view held privately by the Darwin circle that Phillips was a wishy-washy fence-sitter who was dull and boring and to the opinion promulgated by the Quarterly journal of science that he was an excessively cautious figure who lacked the nerve to support the new causes of the 1860s such as science education in schools.16 Even so his death was widely lamented. Sir Charles Bunbury epitomised a general feeling when he alluded in his diary to the sudden and startling death of the famous geologist. For Bunbury Phillips was 'a geologist of a high order, and connected with the old heroes of geology, and especially interesting as the nephew and pupil of William Smith; and he was, moreover, a remarkably pleasant and genial man, not solely a geologist, but intelligent and active minded in various ways'. Years after his death he was remembered for his 'pleasant ways of act and thought'.17 Publicly

26 Introduction 5 Phillips' reputation was kept alive by two posthumous works published under his name but written by others. In 1975 Robert Etheridge brought out the third edition of Phillips' Geology of the Yo rkshire coast. Ten years later Etheridge and Harry Seeley completely re-wrote Phillips' Manual of geology which they admired for its excellent structure and its emphasis on the succession of stratified rocks and their fossils. For them Phillips was a great textbook writer and a genial eloquent teacher 'who if not a brilliant discoverer had verified much of what was known, and was a sound geologist of balanced philosophical habit'. 18 In the following years Phillips received sporadic but not sustained or extensive attention. Von Zittel paid tribute from a European perspective to Phillips' research on jurassic strata, the carboniferous limestone, palaeozoic fossils and terminology, and to his monograph on belemnites produced for the Palaeontographical Society ( ). In his still valuable centennial history of the Geological Society of London, Woodward presented Phillips as an illustrious pioneer geologist but said little new. Phillips was deeply attached to Yorkshire, where some of his happiest years were spent and his most enduring friendships were formed; so it was appropriate that his name was kept alive in his adopted county, especially by local curators and the Proceedings of the Yo rkshire Geological Society. In his golden jubilee history of the Society Davis devoted on orthodox chapter to Phillips. In 1904 WH. Thompson, who regarded Phillips as a pioneer of Yorkshire geology, made the wild claim that he was such a famous geologist that he had left his unmistakable impress upon the world's life and thought. In their well-lmown work on the geology of Yorkshire, Kendall and Wroot claimed that Phillips' own writings still repaid examination: they emphasised that Phillips was a structural geologist with a great interest in faults, a glaciologist who examined erratic blocks and gravel deposits, and an archaeologist with a sustained interest in cave exploration. Also in the inter-war period Collinge and Sheppard painted familiar portraits of Phillips but they offered new information by drawing on the records of the YPS and on ephemera and letters preserved at Hull. Sheppard also gave a full bibliography of Phillips' works. Collinge's approach was subsequently developed by Melmore, who reproduced unpublished correspondence which illuminated the early history of the YPS. At the same time Cox, capitalising on Sheppard's long account of William Smith, threw new light on Smith and on his nephew, pupil, and lieutentant, by examining the Smith manuscripts held in the University Museum, Oxford. In 1961 the Yorkshire Geological Society commemorated Phillips eponymously when it inaugurated the Phillips medal for distinguished research on the stratigraphy or palaeontology of northern England.19 From the early 1970s there has been a sustained interest, often based strongly on unpublished sources, in several aspects of Phillips' career. His role as a keeper has been explored directly or obliquely by Orange, Pyrah, Ovenell, Fox, O'Dwyer, and Yanni. 20 His important contributions to the notions of geological systems, particularly in the controversies about those called Devonian, Cambrian, and Silurian, have been illuminated by Rudwick and Secord.21 Burchfield and Smith and Wise have stressed Phillips' contribution to the controversy which raged in the 1860s about the age of the earth.22 Herries Davies has demonstrated clearly why Phillips did not become director of the Irish Geological Survey in In a pioneering study Hutchins has confirmed in detail that Phillips was a ranking astronomer in his Oxford period.24 Secord has written incisively about the early Geological Survey as a research school.25 Desmond has shown that in the 1860s Thomas Henry Huxley was keen to secure Phillips' support for his contentious view that certain saurian fossils

27 6 Introduction had ostrich-like features and could therefore be construed as organisms intermediate between land creatures and birds.26 At a more biographical level Edmonds has published meticulous and valuable articles on Phillips as an apprentice geologist, on his debut as a lecturer, on the faihue of the scheme to make him the first professor of geology at University College, London, and with Douglas on the complicated history of his published maps. 27 Recently Knell has illuminated Phillips' approach to fossil collecting and fossil collectors.28 For over twenty years I myself have had the temerity to publish a few apen;us about Phillips. With Thackray I showed that Phillips was a pivotal figure in the early British Association, while solo I have examined the genesis and features of Phillips' first monograph, his work for the early Geological Survey as its first palaeontologist, his ambivalent relation with the Yorkshire Geological Society, his life as a curator, and his contributions to geochronology.29 The time is now ripe for bringing together all the existing materials and insights pertaining to Phillips in a biography which tries to clarify and highlight his roles in Victorian culture, without committing the sin of hagiography. As no book-length study of him exists, I have tried to write a tolerably complete and reliable account of Phillips' highly productive and varied life. In portraying its changing features and flavour, with its numerous simultaneous projects, I have therefore taken chronology seriously. Yet I have not offered an exhaustive day-by-day chronicle because that would have downgraded important analytical themes. This book is therefore an attempt at an analytical biography focussed on important themes within chronological divisions which are not totally arbitrary because they have been suggested by the changing patterns of Phillips' own career and his perceptions of it. In this way I hope to show that his life was fascinating, not just in its own right but also in shedding light on wider themes. One major and pervasive theme was career-making. It had its tensions, of which Phillips was only too well aware: 'the unfortunate part of my scientific career has been this: that attaching myself to science from pure love of it, want of financial power forced me into scientific business (if some of my engagements may be so termed) and I am caught in nets of my own forging'.3 For much of his life Phillips had to make ends meet, so the formation and pursuit of his career are central to this book. My model here is Outram's penetrating analysis of Georges Cuvier's life. She focussed on specific problems, such as power, authority, and patronage, which attended his career. She refused to separate the scientific and the social: though she did not offer an extensive exploration of Cuvier's science, she showed that Cuvier's pursuit of desired kinds of science was both a political and an intellectual project.31 In this book I have tried to take a similar approach to the historical politics of science while at the same time discussing in some detail the content of Phillips' science. It would be foolish to disparage or ignore his science because it was through science that he rose to eminence as a 'self-made' man. Throughout this book I assume that science was the socially organised attempt to set and solve problems concerning the understanding and sometimes control of the natural world, the value of the problems and the adequacy of the answers being subj ect to scrutiny and dispute. Thus scientific knowledge was a social product and scientific theories were socially constructed representations of the natural world. Like Oldroyd I believe that over time some scientific knowledge has become more verisimilitudinous because greater correspondence has been achieved between certain theoretical representations and the natural world, important criteria of correspondence being the coherence of these representations with those from other

28 Introduction 7 parts of science, practical efficacy, and specific predictive power. Of course what counted as coherence, practical success, or prediction was itself subject to debate.32 In the case of geology, the rocks were silent and perceptions of them were mediated by interpretative conventions. Yet the rocks existed and are still open to inspection by the historian. I have found it useful to supplement literary sources by examining on foot some of the terrain and sites where Phillips worked. Without making a fetish of such historical fieldwork, it has paid dividends in clarifying the problemsituations that Phillips and his contemporaries faced and the answers they offered to their problems. I have learned time after time in the field that natural objects were seen as something or other and that phenomena were sometimes not seen at all. This experience has reinforced my belief that what has counted as scientific knowledge was socially shaped from empirical materials concerning the natural world.33 Notes I. Yo rkshire gazette, 2 May 1874; Jackson :S Oxfmdjournal, 25 April l874; Phillips' will, 13 June 1864, copy in Eyles collection, University of Bristol Library; YPS Council minutes, 28 April 1874; Mountague Bernard ( ), DNB, fellow of All Souls, professor of international law and diplomacy; Francis Knyvett Leighton ( ), warden of All Souls; Charles Williams ( ), principal of Jesus ; Hemy George Liddell ( ), DNB, dean of Christ Church , vice-chancellor ; John Griffiths ( ), DNB, keeper of University archives , warden of Wadham ; Hemy Wentworth Acland ( ), DNB, Regius professor of medicine ; Hemy John Stephen Smith ( ), DNB, professor of geometry ; William Gray jun ( ) a York lawyer. 2. Phillips, 1829b. 3. Phillips, 1834a. 4. Phillips, 1836a. 5. Phillips, 1841a. 6. Phillips, 1848a. 7. Phillips, 1871a. 8. Phillips, 1860b. 9. Court of Probate for Phillips. 10. Smiles, 1859, pp. 91-8, 1874, 1878; Thomas Edward ( ), DNB, Robert Dick ( ), DNB. 11. Gordon, E.O., 1894; Gordon, M.M, 1869; Lyell, 1881; Phillips, 1844a; Geikie, 1875; Clark and Hughes, 1890; Prestwich, 1875, pp Huxley, Anon, 1860; Anon, 1865a; Timbs, 1866, pp. 3-9; Timbs to Phillips, 19 Dec 1865, 18 Jan 1866, PP; John Timbs ( ), DNB, editor. 14. Hunt, 1866; Hunt to Phillips, 24 and 27 Jan 1866, PP; Phillips to Hunt, 7 and 10 Feb 1866, British Museun1 (Natural History), London; Robert Hunt ( ), DNB, keeper of the Mining Record Office, London, and writer on science; Edward Walford ( ), DNB, journalist and compiler. 15. Anon, 1870, Ramsay, 1894, p. 46; Phillips to An1erican Philosophical Society, 12 June 1869, APS, Philadelphia; Bigsby to Phillips, 1 Feb 1869, Gaudry to Phillips, 15 Sept 1872, PP; Andrew Crombie Ramsay ( ), DNB, director general

29 8 Introduction of Geological Survey ; John Jeremiah Bigsby ( ), DNB, renowned cataloguer of palaeozoic fossils; on Albert Jean Gaudry ( ), DSB, professor of palaeontology, Museum National d'histoire Naturelle, Paris, see Rudwick, 1976a, pp Hunt, 1874; Anon, 1874; Evans, 1875; Rolleston and Smith, 1874; Anon, 1865b, pp ; George Rolleston ( ), DNB, Linacre professor of anatomy and physiology Bunbury, , entry 16 May 1874; Prestwich, 1899, p. 338; Charles James Fox Bunbury ( ) popular fossil botanist. 18. Phillips, 1875; Phillips, 1885, vol. 1, p. vi; Robert Etheridge ( ), DNB, in 1885 assistant keeper in geology, British Museum (Natural History), president Geological Society ; Harry Govier Seeley ( ), DNB, in 1885 professor of geography, from 1896 professor of geology, King's College, London. 19. Phillips, ; Zittel, 1901, pp. 401, 436, 451, 497-8; Woodward, 1907, pp. 40, 113, 165-6; Davis, 1889, pp ; Thompson, 1904; Kendall and Wroot, 1924, pp. 237, 444, 464, 529, 581; Collinge, 1925; Sheppard, 1917, 1934; Melmore, 1942, 1943; Cox, 1942; for Phillips medal, PYGS, , vol. 33, pp , , vol. 34, p Orange, 1973; Pyrah, 1988; Ovenell, 1986; Fox, 1997; O'Dwyer, 1997; Yanni, Rudwick, 1985; Secord, 1986a. 22. Burchfield, 1974; Smith and Wise, Davies, 1983, Hutchins, Secord, 1986b. 26. Desmond, 1982, Edmonds, 1975a and b, 1982; Douglas and Edmonds, Knell, Morrell, 1983, 1988a and b, 1989, 1994, 2001; Morrell and Thackray, 1981, Phillips to De la Beche, 26 Jan 1839, DLB P 31. Outram, 1984; Pickstone, Oldroyd, Pickstone, 1995,justifies this belief; Rudwick, 1985, Secord, 1986a, and Oldroyd, 1990, exemplify it.

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